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Protect your Assets and your Family - Set up an Estate Plan

It is not unusual for people in New Jersy to consider their mortality. However, ignoring the legal matters that will inevitably arise upon death and the subsequent transfer of the decedent's assets is a mistake that can be costly in more ways than one.

The primary issue is the choice of beneficiaries and what assets they are to receive. While most people name their spouse and children, there can be any number of reasons to desire a different distribution. Without a will or a trust in place, the estate will be distributed according to New Jersey's laws of intestate succession with no consideration of the decedent's preferences.

It becomes big headline news when famous people die without a will or trust in place, but the same issues face an estate of any size. Other than the lack of choice of beneficiaries, an intestate estate will be required to go through probate, an expensive and time-consuming process, even in the best of circumstance. If a contest or challenge from some interested party is involved, the expense and time issues can be significantly magnified.

Rather than leave matters to others, it may be prudent to consult a New Jersey probate and estate administration attorney, who can explain that while a will is important, a trust can be even better. The opportunity to reduce or perhaps eliminate probate may be possible with a trust. Additionally, probate is a public proceeding, and the existence of a trust provides more privacy for the family. Finally, a well-executed estate plan can also include a living will, durable power of attorney for healthcare, a guardianship for dependents or other documents as appropriate for the individual situation.

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Lanza & Lanza LLP
5 Main Street
Flemington, NJ 08822

Phone: 908-905-0183
Fax: 908-782-4012
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